Those places are unrecognizable now disfigured by misery . . .” (Seema V. Atalla)

SELECTED NEWS OF THE DAY

Israeli forces to punitively demolish Palestinian houses in Hebron-district town

Israeli forces Tuesday overnight notified the families of three Palestinians of their apparent intention to demolish their houses in Beit Kahel town, northwest of Hebron.
· · · Security sources confirmed that an Israeli military force surrounded the houses of the families of Ahmad Aref Asafra and Mu’men Said Zuhur, currently held in Israeli detention, besides to the house of Mu’men’s grandfather, Attieh, dragged the occupants outside before taking measurements of the three houses. . . This came 18 days after the . . . killing of an off-duty Israeli soldier outside the settlement of Ofra on last Thursday.   More . . . .

•   Punitive House Demolitions, the Prohibition of Collective Punishment, and the
Supreme Court of Israel 
Penn State International Law Review: Vol. 21: No. 3, Article 4 (2003)
By Shane Darcy
Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention
. . . to which Israel is a signatory and to which it is bound as an Occupying Power, prohibits the destruction of property, ‘except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations. Similarly, Article 23 of the 1907 Hague Regulations stipulates that it is ‘especially forbidden to “destroy or to seize the enemy’s property, unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war.” By the very fact that housing demolitions are carried out as a punitive measure would defeat any claim that such actions can be justified as being an absolute military necessityAvailable here

Israel Stops Construction of New School in Bedouin Village under Rightwing Pressure

Palestine Chronicle
August 26, 2019
The Israeli government has moved to stop construction of a school in an unrecognized Bedouin Palestinian village, after pressure from a notorious right-wing group, reported Haaretz. According to the report, a Finance Ministry department that enforces planning and building laws has issued the stop-work order for the high school at al-Zarnug in the Negev.  More . . . .

Netanyahu to expand Dolev settlement in reprisal for Friday’s attack

The Palestinian Information Center
August 27, 2019
Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to double the size of the illegal settlement of Dolev in the occupied West Bank in response to Friday’s bomb attack that killed one settler and injured two others.
· · · According to Israeli media sources, Netanyahu told his office director on Monday to prepare a plan for 300 housing units in Dolev settlement in order to submit it for approval to the regional planning and construction council.  More . . . .

PA slams US State Department for removing it from country list

The Middle East Monitor
August 27, 2019
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has slammed the US State Department for removing it from its online list of countries, saying the move constitutes yet more evidence of the US’ alignment with the Israeli right-wing.
· · · · Previously the State Department website featured the “Palestinian Territories” under its “Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs: Countries & Areas” web page, where it offered information about the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip.
· · · However, the newly-updated webpage now makes no mention of the occupied territories or Palestine, referring to Palestinians only once on the “Israel” subpage. This page reads: “The U.S. is committed to supporting the parties in efforts to reach a lasting, comprehensive peace agreement that offers a brighter future to both Israel and the Palestinians.”  More . . . .

POEM OF THE DAY

COLD COMFORT — Seema V. Atalla

The lost places are easy to list:

My grandmother’s Haifa
where she wore her hair in waist-long braids,
gathered with her neighbors by the seaside to chat,
and at the tiny, crisp fish she loved, fried to perfection.

My father’s Nazareth
where he carried grain to the mill for his mother,
and listened to the blind man who sat outside the church
playing hymns on his flute.

My grandmother’s Jerusalem
where she planted banks of fragrant lavender,
taught kindergarten,
and rolled grape leaves for dinner, leaf by leaf.

My mother’s Ramallah
cool green peaceful place
where she and her sisters learned algebra and embroidery
among the sighing pines and rosy stone homes.

Those places are unrecognizable now
disfigured
by misery
riddled with desperation
choked with the nitty gritty grime of actuality.

Simpler to turn back to the long-cherished images.
The lost places seem quaint now,
perhaps a little faded . . .
we revisit them
the way we touch an old injury,
fingering the scar
over and over
finding comfort
in pressing the place
where it hurts.

From WE BEGIN HERE: POEMS FOR PALESTINE AND LEBANON, edited by Kamal Boullata and Kathy Engel (Interlink Press, 2007).

Palestinian-American Seema V. Atalla was born in New York, completed high school in Amman, Jordan, and now lives in Southern California where she teaches at Mt. San Antonio College. In 1992 she obtained an MA in Comparative Literature from UCLA. She is best-known for her translations of Arabic short stories and poems.

 

“. . . For it is the function of history To follow our dictates . . .” (Tawfiq Zayyad)

❶ PCHR: New attempts by Israel to legitimize killing of Palestinians
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Israel’s attorney general says new laws will consider West Bank

  • Background: “International Law and the Occupied Territories.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture.

❷ Palestinians kidnapped, homes ransacked in predawn sweep by IOF
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Detainees narrate how they were tortured during interrogation in Israeli centers
❸ Gov’t to supply Gaza with electricity following bank guarantee
. . . . . ❸ ― (ᴀ) Gaza: Health Sector may collapse due to shortage of medicines
❹ Hanan Ashrawi to Trump: ‘We will not be blackmailed’
❺ POETRY by Tawfiq Zayyad
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ PCHR:  NEW  ATTEMPTS  BY  ISRAEL  TO  LEGITIMIZE  KILLING  OF  PALESTINIANS 
Palestine News Network – PNN 
Jan. 3, 2018 ― The Israeli Knesset is set to vote on Wednesday to amend the Penal Code in order to legalize the use of death penalty against those involved in murders while carrying out “terrorist operations”.
___The bill was presented before the Knesset on 30 October 2017 by three Israeli extremist parliamentarians: Robert Eltov, Oded Forer and Yuli Leminovsky.
___The bill stipulates that “the Minister of Defense orders the commander of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in the division to give orders to: 1- the Military Court in the division to have the power to sentence death penalty without requiring the consensus of the Military Court, but only the ordinary majority; 2- No other court in the division has the right to commute a final death sentence issued by the military court in the division.”    MORE . . .  
.  .  .  .  .  ―  (ᴀ)  ISRAEL’S  ATTORNEY  GENERAL  SAYS  NEW  LAWS  WILL  CONSIDER  WEST  BANK
The Palestinian Information Center
Jan. 3, 2018 ― Israel’s Attorney General on Monday issued a decision stating that all new laws from now on will include the West Bank settlements.
[. . . .] Bennett stressed that they will no longer approve the passage of any law unless it is applied to the West Bank settlers.
___For her turn, Israel’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked hailed the decision and said that the Israelis living in the West Bank are not “second class citizens” and that she will work to develop new measures to make sure that the new legislations will be applied to them too.   MORE . . . 

Weiss, Peter.
“INTERNATIONAL  LAW  AND  THE  OCCUPIED  TERRITORIES.” 
PALESTINE-ISRAEL JOURNAL OF POLITICS, ECONOMICS & CULTURE, vol. 21, no. 3, Jan. 2016, pp. 96-101.
[. . . .] There is virtually unanimous international agreement that Israel’s presence in the West Bank constitutes an occupation within the meaning of Section III of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which deals with the protection of civilian persons in times of war. The United States, the United Nations Security Council and the International Court of Justice have all upheld the agreement. A number of important consequences flow from this fact:
* The settlements are illegal because, under Article 49, “the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”;
* Under Article 3, “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment” are prohibited, as well as violence to life and person, in particular murder and torture”;
* Under Article 5, persons suspected of activity hostile to the occupying power shall be treated with humanity;
* Under Article 13, the provisions of the convention are to be applied “without any adverse distinction based, in particular, on race, nationality, religion or political opinion”;
* Under Article 16, the wounded, sick, infirm and expectant mothers “shall be the object of particular protection and respect”;
* Under Article 31, No physical or moral coercion shall be exercised against protected persons, in particular to obtain information from them or from their parties”;
* Article 32 prohibits the commission of murder, torture and corporal punishment against protected persons, as well as “any other measures of brutality whether applied by civilian or military agents”;
* Under Article 33, “No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or terrorism are prohibited. Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.”
[. . . .] It requires no evidentiary brief to demonstrate that these and similar provisions are, by the current occupying power, more honored in the breach than in the observance.
[. . . .] There are, of course, many principles of international law beyond those derived from the law of war. To take only one example: The International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights, to which Israel is a party, contains provisions dealing with, inter alia, the rights of self-determination, the right to work, an adequate standard of living and the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. Similar legal obligations flow from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which, while not a treaty, is widely regarded as another source of basic rights applicable in occupied territories, as well as in the territory of the occupier.     SOURCE . . . 

PALESTINIANS  KIDNAPPED,  HOMES  RANSACKED  IN  PREDAWN  SWEEP  BY  IOF
The Palestinian Information Center   
Jan. 3, 2018 ― Several Palestinians were kidnapped by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at daybreak Wednesday in abduction sweeps launched across the West Bank and Jerusalem.
___Clashes burst out in Jenin’s southern town of Qabatiya shortly after the IOF stormed the area and ransacked civilian homes.
___The occupation forces showered residential neighborhoods with spates of bullet fire and teargas grenades, resulting in injuries.    MORE . . .  
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴀ)  DETAINEES  NARRATE  HOW  THEY  WERE  TORTURED  DURING  INTERROGATION  IN  ISRAELI  CENTERS
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA   
Jan. 3, 2018 ― Omar Zuhour, from Beit Kahil village near Hebron, WAS ONLY 14 YEARS OLD when he was detained by Israeli soldiers who hit him on the head and knees with their bullet case, kicked him all over his body . . .
___This testimony from Zuhour was given to the Prisoners’ Commission and was distributed on Wednesday in a statement on the torture of Palestinians in Israeli detention and interrogation centers.  MORE . . . 
❸ GOV’T  TO  SUPPLY  GAZA  WITH  ELECTRICITY  FOLLOWING  BANK  GUARANTEE
The Palestinian Information Center 
Jan. 3, 2018 ― After receiving a bank guarantee from the electricity distribution company in the Gaza Strip, the Ramallah-based consensus government decided to supply the besieged enclave with its power needs.
___An informed source told the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) on Tuesday that the government took such decision after the distribution company provided it with a bank guarantee worth 10 million dollars.   MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  .  ❸  ―  (ᴀ)  GAZA:  HEALTH  SECTOR  MAY  COLLAPSE  DUE  TO  SHORTAGE  OF  MEDICINES 
Palestine News Network – PNN
Jan. 3, 2018 ― The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) said it’s deeply concerned over the severe lack of medicines and medical consumables in the Gaza Strip Hospitals, warning that conditions of the Gaza Strip patients would deteriorate due to the shortage of medicine and periodic medications, which are not available in the Gaza healthcare facilities.
___PCHR called upon the Ministry of Health in Ramallah to guarantee the free and secure flow of all consignments of medicines and needed medical supplies for the health facilities in the Gaza Strip.    MORE . . .  
❹ HANAN  ASHRAWI  TO  TRUMP:  ‘WE  WILL  NOT  BE  BLACKMAILED’   
Al Jazeera English
Jan. 3, 2018 ― A senior Palestinian official has responded with defiance to Donald Trump’s threat via Twitter to cut aid to the Palestinian Authority.
___Hanan Ashrawi’s rebuke followed the US president’s tweet admitting that the Middle East peace process was in difficulty and warning Palestinians that they could lose US aid worth more than $300m a year.
___”We will not be blackmailed,” Ashrawi said in a statement on Wednesday.
___”President Trump has sabotaged our search for peace, freedom and justice. Now he dares to blame the Palestinians for the consequences of his own irresponsible actions!” MORE . . . 

“THE  FIRE  OF  THE  MAGI,  BY  TAWFIQ  ZAYYAD
I take my time!
I take my time!
I draw the first thread of light
From the deep darkness of night;
I tend the nursery of dreams
At the source of the torrent,
And dry the tears of loved ones
With a kerchief of jasmine.
I plant the most verdant oases
Amidst the scorched sands,
And shape a life for the outlaws
From fragrance, plenty, and justice.
If someday, on the road, my foot should stumble,
My roots will uphold and support me.

I take my time
For I am unlike the match
That flickers once, then dies.
I am more like the fire of the magi, burning bright
From my cradle to my grave.
And from my forebears to my offspring.
My endurance is as limitless as the horizon,
And the skill of the ant I’ve mastered.

I take my time,
For it is the function of history
To follow our dictates.
We have prepared for the downfall of the giants of the earth,
We will pay them back in kind;
We will give them enough rope, not that they may live longer,
But that they might have enough to hang themselves.

About Tawfiq Zayyad.
From THE  PALESTINIAN  WEDDING:  A  BILINGUAL  ANTHOLOGY  OF  CONTEMPORARY  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE  POETRY. Ed. and Trans. A. M. Elmessiri. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2011. Reprint from Three Continents Press, Inc., 1982. Available from  Palestine Online Store.

“. . . Israeli settlements have gone beyond a mere breach of Article 49(6) by acquiring features of apartheid . . .” (Bianca Watts)

weekly-settlement-report-june-6-13-jun-2015
Illegal West Bank Israeli settlement and Apartheid Wall. (Photo: Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, June 19, 2015)

❶ Israeli forces confiscate Palestinian-owned residential barracks in Jericho
❷ British Consulate General launches initiative to support olive harvest
❸ UN Security Council holds meeting on illegal expansion of Israeli settlements in West Bank
. . . ❸ ― (a) ‘The occupation is sustainable because the world refuses to take action.’ Transcript of the prepared remarks B’Tselem executive director Hagai El-Ad delivered to UN Security Council
. . . ❸ ― (b) Israel suspends ties with UNESCO

  • Background:  “Better Than A Thousand Hollow Words Is One Word That Brings Peace: Enforcing Article 49(6) Of The Fourth Geneva Convention Against Israeli Settlements In The Occupied Palestinian Territory.” Pacific Mcgeorge Global Business & Development Law Journal
    ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `

ISRAELI  FORCES  CONFISCATE  PALESTINIAN-OWNED  RESIDENTIAL  BARRACKS  IN  JERICHO
Ma’an News Agency
Oct. 14, 2016
Israeli forces Thursday confiscated residential barracks in the Palestinian Bedouin residential area of Arab al-Mleihat in the occupied West Bank district of Jericho, according to a Ma’an reporter.
___The residential barracks belonged to Ali Suliman al-Mleihat and Mohammad Ali al-Mleihat.
___The mayor of Jericho Majid al-Fityani told Ma’an that Israel’s continuous demolitions and confiscations are “crimes against the Palestinian people,” and only “proves that Israel is unwilling to make peace.”
___Al-Fityani added that the world was responsible for ending Israeli violations against Palestinians, including the routine leveling of Palestinian lands, confiscations, demolitions, detentions, and killings.      More . . .

BRITISH  CONSULATE  GENERAL  LAUNCHES  INITIATIVE  TO  SUPPORT  OLIVE  HARVEST
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Oct. 15, 2016
British Consul General in Jerusalem Alastair McPhail announced on Friday that for the second year in a row, the British Consulate General will be supporting the Palestinian olive harvest in Area C and East Jerusalem.
___McPhail made the announcement during an olive picking event in the village of Yanoun, near Nablus.
___“I’m proud to launch our initiative to support Palestinian olive growers in vulnerable areas of the West Bank, for the second year in a row,” he said. “I hope that this exciting partnership with the Palestinian Authority Commission Against the Wall and Settlements will provide Palestinian farmers, in some of the most vulnerable areas, with the confidence and resilience to harvest their olives during these difficult times.”      More . . .

bedouin
Bedouin village of al-Arakib, one of the dozens Bedouin Arab communities in the Negev desert not recognised by the Israeli state (Photo: Reuters, Aug. 29, 2013)

UN SECURITY  COUNCIL  HOLDS  MEETING  ON  ILLEGAL  EXPANSION  OF  ISRAELI  SETTLEMENTS  IN  WEST  BANK
Ma’an News Agency
Oct. 14, 2016
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) held a special meeting Friday regarding illegal Israeli settlement construction and expansion in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. . . .  the meeting was classified as an ‘Arria-Formula,’ which according to the UNSC, are informal gatherings which enable Security Council members to discuss “frankly” the topic at hand, and hear from guests whom the council deems would be beneficial to listen to.
[. . . .]
Among those presenting on the issue were Hagai El-Ad, the executive director of B’Tselem, an Israeli organization that monitors human rights abuses in the occupied Palestinian territory, and Lara Friedman, director of policy and government relations at the Americans for Peace Now, the sister organization of the Israeli human rights NGO.     More . . .
. . .― (a) ‘THE  OCCUPATION  IS  SUSTAINABLE  BECAUSE  THE  WORLD  REFUSES  TO  TAKE  ACTION.’ TRANSCRIPT  OF  THE  PREPARED  REMARKS  B’TSELEM  EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR  HAGAI EL-AD  DELIVERED  TO  UN  SECURITY  COUNCIL
+972 Blog
Hagai El-Ad
Oct. 14, 2016
What does it mean, in practical terms, to spend 49 years, a lifetime, under military rule? When violence breaks out, or when particular incidents attract global attention, you get a glimpse into certain aspects of life under occupation. But what about the rest of the time? What about the many “ordinary” days of a 17,898-day-long occupation, which is still going strong?       More . . .  
. . .― (b)  ISRAEL  SUSPENDS  TIES  WITH  UNESCO
The Middle East Monitor – MEMO
Oct. 14, 2016
Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett announced today that Israel is suspending all of its joint activities with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) after the organisation adopted a resolution that disregards the connection between Judaism and Al-Aqsa Mosque and casts doubt over the link between the religion and the Western Wall.
___In a message to UNESCO member states, Bennett said: “Your decision denies history and encourages terror. Those who give prizes to supporters of jihad in Jerusalem mere days after two Jews were murdered in the city, may very well be the next in line.”    More . . .

[NOTE: This article is a comprehensive discussion of the history of the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and the world’s response to it.]

  • Watts, Bianca. “Better Than A Thousand Hollow Words Is One Word That Brings Peace: Enforcing Article 49(6) Of The Fourth Geneva Convention Against Israeli Settlements In The Occupied Palestinian Territory.” Pacific Mcgeorge Global Business & Development Law Journal 24.1 (2011): 443-472.  Source (Full) . . .

The illegality of Israeli settlement in the OPT is explained in the Fourth Geneva Convention (“Geneva IV” or “Convention”), which is the principal international treaty governing the law of belligerent occupation. Article 49, paragraph 6 of the Geneva IV (“Article 49(6)”) provides that “[t]he Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” High Contracting Parties (“HCPs”) are obligated to both respect and ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances under Article 1 of the Convention. Today, 194 states are party to the Convention, including the United States and Israel, and none have fulfilled their obligation under Article 1.8. In fact, the United States consistently uses its veto power in the United Nations (“U.N.”) Security Council to block proposals to intervene and enforce the Geneva IV against Israel.
[. . . .]
Israel first inquired about the legality of settling in the OPT, specifically the West Bank and the Golan Heights, in the fall of 1967. On September 18, 1967, Israeli Foreign Ministry Officials received a top-secret memo that settlement in the West Bank and Golan Heights would violate Article 49(6). Israeli officials were advised that the prohibition of settlements under Article 49(6) was categorical, unconditional, and aimed at preventing colonization of a conquered territory by the conquering state. This memo confirmed that Israeli officials knew that building settlements in the OPT violated international law prior to beginning settlement construction. Yet, despite the memo’s unequivocal warning that settlements violated the Geneva IV, Israel forged ahead with plans that resulted in the settlement enterprise we see today.
[. . . .]
“The United Nations has issued scores of resolutions affirming the applicability of Geneva IV to the OPT and calling upon Israel to abide by its legal obligations as an Occupying Power.” For instance, in Resolution 3240, the General Assembly criticized Israel’s “continued and persistent” violation of the Geneva IV through the establishment of new settlements and expansion of existing settlements in the OPT.39 The General Assembly also demanded that Israel cease its settlement activity.
[. . . .]
After over forty years of occupation and settlement in the OPT, Israel was bound to engage in activity that would produce negative effects on Palestinians and subject the state to overwhelming criticism from its nationals and third states. However, Israeli settlements have gone beyond a mere breach of Article 49(6) by acquiring features of apartheid, and possibly rendering its entire occupation regime illegal. The United States, as Israel’s closest and most powerful ally, must change its approach. It cannot continue to shield Israel from both international and domestic calls for the government to comply with its obligation under Article 49(6) to cease settlement in the OPT and yet expect finality to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“. . . The eagles of this land will shield my open revolt . . .” (Fouzi El-Asmar)

kids-peace
A thousand Palestinian children directed a message of peace to the world as they observe the International Day of Peace. (Photo: Ma’an News Agency, Sept. 21)

❶ Palestinian children commemorate International Day of Peace in Ramallah
❷ 23 Palestinians detained, dozens of houses ordered to be demolished in Jerusalem raids
❸ Secret Israeli Documents Reveal Violation of the Geneva Convention

  • Background article from Journal Of The Historical Society

❹ POETRY by Fouzi el-Asmar
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
PALESTINIAN  CHILDREN  COMMEMORATE  INTERNATIONAL  DAY  OF  PEACE  IN  RAMALLAH 
Ma’an News Agency   
Sept. 21, 2016
A thousand Palestinian children directed a message of peace to the world on Wednesday as they convened in Ramallah to observe the International Day of Peace.
___In an event organized by the Palestinian Ministry of Education and the European Union (EU), the children released white pigeons and balloons marked with inscriptions reading “We want to live in peace” into the air.    ___Palestinian Minister of Education Sabri Saidam, Deputy Minister of Education Basri Saleh, EU representative Ralph Tarraf participated in the event, in addition to a number of representatives of international organizations.     MORE . . .   

23  PALESTINIANS  DETAINED,  DOZENS  OF  HOUSES  ORDERED  TO  BE  DEMOLISHED  IN  JERUSALEM  RAIDS  
Ma’an News Agency   
Sept. 22, 2016
Israeli forces carried out a massive detention raids into Palestinian communities in Jerusalem before dawn on Thursday for the second day in a row, detaining at least 23 Palestinians and assaulting locals — including a minor, while demolition orders were delivered to dozens of Palestinian homes during raids on Wednesday.
___Israeli forces raided the Shufat refugee camp in the Jerusalem district of the occupied West Bank as well as the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, located just south of Shufat beyond Israel’s separation wall.     MORE . . .     

SECRET  ISRAELI  DOCUMENTS  REVEAL  VIOLATION  OF  THE  GENEVA  CONVENTION    
Palestine Chronicle
Sept. 22 2016
Israeli officials have acknowledged systematic violations of the Geneva Conventions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, secret documents disclosed by Israeli newspaper Haaretz have revealed.
[. . . .]
The documents show how the Israeli government sought “to avoid application of the Geneva Conventions to the territories immediately after they were captured” and how “it tried to prevent international criticism of violations of the conventions.”
[. . . .]
One document, a “top-secret” cable sent in March 1968 to Israel’s then-ambassador in Washington, Yitzhak Rabin, states: “Our consistent policy has been and still is to avoid discussing the situation in the administered territories with foreign parties on the basis of the Geneva Conventions.     MORE . . .   

Blogger’s note: By excerpting this article, I do NOT mean to equate Israel with Nazi Germany. This is simply to show the parallels between the justifications for “ethnic cleansing” and forced evacuations of land, from the “Trail of Tears” in the United States, to South African Apartheid, to the Spanish destruction of the Aztec civilization, to Nazi Germany, to Palestine.

  • Piskorski, Jan M. “From Munich Through Wannsee To Auschwitz: The Road To The Holocaust.” Journal Of The Historical Society 7.2 (2007): 155-175.   SOURCE.

. . .  “spontaneous” events of the so-called Kristallnacht of November 1938, when synagogues were burned and Jewish shops demolished, are today viewed by most historians as elements of terror. At the same time . . . the mouthpiece of the SS, Das Schwarze Korps, declared on November 24 that there was no place for Jews in Germany. They must be distinctly marked, moved to separate town sections, and deprived of their assets—a step that will throw them into poverty.
[. . . .]
Regarding the “evacuation” of the Jews . . .  because they are Germany’s eternal, primeval enemy: “We have the moral right, and we have had the obligation toward our nation, to do this—to root out the nation that has wished to root us out.”
___In Himmler’s view, the strength of the SS consisted of the fact that its members had the capacity to conduct murderous operations—to withstand those operations psychologically, while at the same time retaining their own “decency”. . .This is because . . . the Germans are known for their gentle disposition and deep emotions. For example, they are the only nation on earth to be kind to animals and thus they might also treat with decency those “human animals,” the Slavs—since the Jews were outside of any such categorization—and yet, “it would be a crime against our race to be bothered on their behalf, and to impart our ideals to them, so that our children and grandchildren have more trouble from them later.”
[. . . .]

BACKGROUND:   Nazi Bands Raid Thousands Of Jewish Homes In Reich, Paris Hears, November 12, 1939
Jewish Telegraphic Agency   [. . . .] Nazi bands shouting “British Agents!” were reported to be pillaging and demolishing Jewish homes throughout the Reich.   MORE . . . 

demolition
House demolition in the Sur Baher neighborhood of East Jerusalem, January 2007. (Photo: The Electronic Intifada)

“I  AM  THE  SON  OF  THE  LAND,”  BY  FOUZI  EL ASMAR
You may take my hands
and lock them in your chains
You may also blindfold me.

You bereaved me
from the light
and I marched
You robbed me
of the bread
and I ate.
You plundered the land
from me
and I ploughed.

I am the son of the land
and for that
I find goodness in this earth
anywhere I happen to be:
The ants of this land
feed me
The branches of this land
foster me
The eagles of this land
will shield my open revolt

Yes
You may take my hands
And lock them in your chains
You may also blindfold me
But here I will stand tall
And here I shall remain
until the very end. (April, 1970) 

From: El Azmar, Fouzi. POEMS  FROM  AN  ISRAELI  PRISON. Intro. By Israel Shahak. New York: KNOW Books, 1973.    Available from Amazon
About Fouzi El Asmar 

“. . . He moves in an absolute indistinction of fact and law, of life and juridical rule . . .” (Derek Gregory)

1-stone throwers
New [July 2015] Israeli law only targets Palestinians protesters, but spares Israeli settlers. (Photo: Al Jazeera, July 21, 2015)
❶ Israeli settlers throw rocks at Palestinian vehicles in northern West Bank
Related: Palestinian stone throwers face up to 20 years in jail

  • background from Palestine-Israel Journal Of Politics, Economics & Culture

❷ Using stolen water to irrigate stolen land

  • background from Singapore Journal Of Tropical Geography 

❸ Opinion/Analysis:  LIFE TURNED UPSIDE DOWN IN GAZA
❹ POETRY by Samih al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ISRAELI  SETTLERS  THROW  ROCKS  AT  PALESTINIAN  VEHICLES  IN  NORTHERN  WEST  BANK
Ma’an News Agency
July 16, 2016
Israeli settlers Friday evening reportedly threw rocks at Palestinian cars on the Wadi Qana road which runs between the occupied West Bank districts of Qalqilya and Salfit, according to local witnesses.
___Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli settlers threw rocks at a group of Palestinian cars that were returning from a wedding, causing damage to a bus from the Salfit Bus Company and breaking the windshield of a car belonging to Ali Taha from the village of Bidya in Salfit.
___While Israeli settlers routinely throw stones and harass Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, they are rarely reprimanded for it.
___Palestinian stone-throwers, in stark contrast, face harsh penalties by Israeli authorities. . .     MORE . . .
RELATED . . .  PALESTINIAN  STONE  THROWERS  FACE  UP  TO  20  YEARS  IN  JAIL

From Palestine-Israel Journal Of Politics, Economics & Culture
[. . . .] For years the Israeli human rights community has been trying to defy Israeli demolitions of Palestinian houses and other structures in the West Bank. Their opposition is based on individual human rights arguments and international humanitarian law, focusing attention on the unlawful policies of the [Israelis] in the West Bank and their devastating humanitarian consequences on the protected civilian Palestinian population. These included . . . the obligation of the occupying power to ensure public order for the occupied population, according to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949.
[. . . .]
No frameworks of legal analysis fully explain the dual system in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
[. . . .] moving beyond the national conflict, the main problem in the comparison to the Apartheid framework is that although it is based on similarly applied practices of racial segregation and discrimination as the International Convention On the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid states, it does not emphasize what seems to be the main motivation behind the legal segregation and discrimination: the Israeli spatial expansionist interests [emphasis in original] to advance and reinforce the settlement project until the full conversion of the Israelis in the West Bank from settlers to indigenous peoples.

  • Amar-Shiff, Netta. “Planning Apartheid And Human Rights In The Occupied Palestinian Territories.” Palestine-Israel Journal Of Politics, Economics & Culture 21.3 (2016): 65-68.
wall water
A segment of the Israeli separation wall near Beit Hanina, Jerusalem, 2012 (Photo: Tanya Habjouqa)

❷ USING  STOLEN  WATER  TO  IRRIGATE  STOLEN  LAND
+972 Blog
Dror Etkes
July 16, 2016
The recent reports on water crisis in Palestinian areas of the West Bank were accompanied by a story of another water shortage: this time in Israeli settlements. Let’s get one thing straight — there has never been a “water shortage” in the settlements. When settlers open up the tap at home or in their garden, the amount and quality of the water is identical to that which comes out in most homes to the west of the Green Line. Yes, there were several recent instances in which the water supply was cut off temporarily in a number of settlements (generally for a few hours), during which the authorities provided settlers water from water tanks. One can safely say that not a single settler was left thirsty.      MORE . . .

From Singapore Journal Of Tropical Geography
Palestinian towns and cities . . . have been smashed by Israeli missiles and bombs, by tanks and armoured bulldozers. . . .  The “main purpose is to deny the Palestinian people their collective, individual and cultural rights to the city-based modernity long enjoyed by Israelis” . . .   Palestinian “facts on the ground” were erased with almost machine-like efficiency: coolly, dispassionately and ruthlessly.
___But since the spring of 2002, the legal fictions that permitted these erasures have increasingly been dispensed with. . . .  the IDF’s spasm of destruction had created a landscape of devastation from Bethlehem to Jenin. “There is no way to assess the full extent of the latest damage to the cities and towns . . .  but it is safe to say that the infrastructure of life itself and of any future Palestinian state – roads, schools, electricity pylons, water pipes, telephone lines – has been devastated.” Taken together, these are collective assaults in city and in countryside . . .  [not only] on the integrity of Palestinian civil society and on the formation of a Palestinian state, but on what he calls “bare life” itself.
___As Mahmoud Darwish (2002) declared, “the occupation does not content itself with depriving us of the primary conditions of freedom, but goes on to deprive us of the bare essentials of a dignified human life, by declaring constant war on our bodies, and our dreams, on the people and the homes and the trees, and by committing crimes of war.”  The hideous objective . . .  is to reduce homo sacer to the abject despair of der Muselman. . .  a figure from the Nazi concentration camps – it means, with deeply depressing significance, “The Muslim” . . . .  der Muselman no longer belongs to the world of men in any way; he does not even belong to the threatened and precarious world of the camp inhabitants… Mute and absolutely alone, he has passed into another world without memory and without grief.

  • Gregory, Derek. “Defiled Cities.” Singapore Journal Of Tropical Geography 24.3 (2003): 307.

❸  Opinion/Analysis:  LIFE  TURNED  UPSIDE  DOWN  IN  GAZA
The Electronic Intifada
Sarah Algherbawi
July 15, 2016
Inas Abu Muhadi cannot understand that she will never see her dad again [. . . .]
___The young girl’s father passed away from natural causes in July 2013.
___“Our life turned upside down after that day,” said her mother, Rajaa Abu Khalil. “Now, I have to be their father and mother at the same time. The burden is too heavy and I am tired.”
___On top of Rajaa’s loss of her husband, the home where the couple lived with their six children in the central Gaza town of Deir al-Balah was bombed and destroyed during Israel’s 51-day onslaught in the summer of 2014.     MORE . . .

“A  HOMELAND,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM

So what,
When in my homeland
The sparrow dies of starvation,
In exile, without a shroud,
While the earthworm is satiated, devouring God’s food!

So what,
When the yellow fields
Yield no more to their tillers
Than memories of weariness,
While their rich harvest pours
Into the granaries of the usurper!

So what,
If the cement has diverted
The ancient springs
Causing them to forget their natural course,
When their owner calls,
They cry in his face: “Who are you?”

So what,
When the almond and the olive have turned to timber
Adorning tavern doorways,
And monuments
Whose nude loveliness beautifies halls and bars,
And is carried by tourists
To the farthest corners of the earth,
While noting remains before my eyes
But dry leaves and tinder!

So what,
When my people’s tragedy
Has turned to farce in others’ eyes,
And my face is a poor bargain
That even the slave-trader gleefully disdains!

So what,
When in barren space the satellites spin,
And in the streets walks a beggar, holding a hat,
And the song of autumn is heard!

Blow, East winds!
Our roots are still alive.

Samih Al-Qasim
From THE  PALESTINIAN  WEDDING:  A  BILINGUAL  ANTHOLOGY  OF  CONTEMPORARY  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE  POETRY. Ed. and Trans. A. M. Elmessiri. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2011. Reprint from Three Continents Press, Inc., 1982. Available from Palestine Online Store.

 

 

 

“. . . Young Palestinians do not go out to murder Jews because they are Jews . . .” (Amira Haas)

1-amal mukhamara
The mother of Murad Ideis, ACCUSED [not found guilty] . . . stands on the rubble of her home in Beit Amra after it was demolished by the Israeli army on 11 June. Photo: Wisam Hashlamoun APA images)
❶ Palestinian man dies of tear gas inhalation after clashes erupt at Qalandiya

  • From: Journal Of East Asia & International Law

❷ Israel can’t crush solidarity
. . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Israeli court rejects appeal against punitive demolitions of Tel Aviv suspects’ family homes
❸ Analysis: Lack of Security for Palestinians
❹ POETRY by Zuhair Abu Shayib
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ PALESTINIAN  MAN  DIES  OF  TEAR  GAS  INHALATION  AFTER  CLASHES  ERUPT  AT  QALANDIYA
Ma’an News Agency
July 1, 2016
A Palestinian man was pronounced dead on Friday after suffering from excessive tear gas inhalation when Israeli forces earlier in the morning heavily fired tear gas at Palestinians crossing Qalandiya checkpoint from Ramallah into Jerusalem to attend prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
___The man, reportedly in his 50s, was one of at least 40 Palestinians who suffered from severe tear gas inhalation during clashes that broke out at the Qalandiya checkpoint.
___Witnesses told Ma’an that Palestinian Red Crescent paramedics were prevented by Israeli forces from treating the man at the start of the incident. However, they eventually were able to reach him.       MORE . . .

From: Journal Of East Asia & International Law
[. . . .]
Israel’s claim is also inconsistent with the peace agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinians basically adopting the two-state solution and the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people. The establishment of the Palestinian National Authority and the continued negotiations between the two parties to reach a just and comprehensive settlement constitutes an implicit acknowledgement of the occupation.
___. . .  In the case of Beit Sourik Village Council, the [Israeli] High Court adjudicated that The Hague Regulations and the first three Geneva Conventions constitute a part of international customary law and are thus binding Israel. The High Court also recognized the Fourth Geneva Convention in its Military Order No. 3 issued in June 1967, but revoked this recognition on the ground that the Convention was not mentioned in its own laws. The Court’s decision is a violation of international law, because it is inadmissible for any state to use its local laws as an excuse to refuse enforcing international treaties.
___The Hague and Geneva Conventions are binding on all states because these regulations constitute an integral part of international customary law. The second common article in the four Geneva Conventions states that: “[T]he Fourth Geneva Convention shall apply to all cases of partial or total occupation, even if the said occupation meets with no armed resistance.”

  • Shandi, Yousef. “Israel’s Claim Of The ‘Legitimate Right Of Self- Defense’ Regarding The Gaza Strip In Light Of International Law A Palestinian Lawyer’s Position.” Journal Of East Asia & International Law 3.2 (2010): 387-406.

❷ ISRAEL  CAN’T  CRUSH  SOLIDARITY
The Electronic Intifada
Budour Youssef Hassan
June 30, 2016
Amal Mukhamara is fed up with the questions. She is tired of journalists inquiring why her son Khaled and his cousin Muhammad killed four Israelis in Tel Aviv earlier this month. She is tired of being asked if she condemns their actions or if she knew of their plans beforehand.
___“No mother will allow her son to put his life in danger,” she said. “But our sons do not ask us for our opinions or approval. They are driven to act because of all the injustice and aggression they have been subjected to by Israel.”
___The killings took place in an upmarket Tel Aviv square. Both of the alleged attackers were wounded before being arrested.       MORE . . .  
. . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) ISRAELI  COURT  REJECTS  APPEAL  AGAINST  PUNITIVE  DEMOLITIONS  OF  TEL  AVIV  SUSPECTS’  FAMILY  HOMES
Ma’an News Agency
June 30, 2016
An Israeli military court rejected an appeal against house demolition orders presented to the families of two Palestinians suspected of carrying out a deadly attack in Tel Aviv earlier this month.
___Muhammad Ahmad Moussa Makhamreh and Khalid Muhammad Moussa Makhamreh, two cousins from the town of Yatta in the southern West Bank district of Hebron . . . are set to face trial. However, Israeli forces have ordered the demolition of their families’ homes.      MORE . . .

509748
Palestinians are blocked entry as they wait at the Qalandiya checkpoint in northern Jerusalem 08 December 2005. (Photo: AFP/JAMAL ARURI)

❸ LACK OF SECURITY FOR PALESTINIANS
Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture
21.2 (2015): 28-35
Amira Abd Elrahim
Whether Palestinians protest violently or nonviolently Israel responds with military force, so how can the violence end in the Occupied Palestinian Territories without an end to occupation.
___As we look around us at what has been happening lately, we stand speechless. As natives of the land of Palestine, we live in a never-ending conflict, under an authority that doesn’t recognize us or our rights [. . . .]
Palestinians who were accused of attacking Israelis were shot directly, either by Israeli military forces or by settlers who may have just felt insecure or threatened with or without reason. Most of the martyrs would not be liable for a death sentence in a state of law. . . .
___Israelis have a government and weapons. They are protected by an army that stands behind them. . . The Palestinians are the only people on this earth who are asked to guarantee the security of their occupier, while Israel is the only country that calls for defense from its victims. . .  Palestinians chose to resist and express their anger in their own way.
___You cannot be an innocent settler. . . .  you are guilty and your crimes cannot be swept away. As stated by Haaretz correspondent Amira Haas:

Young Palestinians do not go out to murder Jews because they are
Jews. It’s because Jews are their occupiers, their torturers, their jailers,
the thieves of their land and water, their exilers, the demolishers
of their homes, the blockers of their horizon. Young Palestinians,
vengeful and desperate, are willing to lose their lives and cause their
families great pain because the enemy they face proves every day
that its malice has no limits” (Haaretz, Oct 7, 2015).      MORE . . .

“PROBABILITIES,”  BY  ZUHAIR  ABU  SHAYIB
From
what source of light
does the day occur?
Does the earth propitiate itself
and the seas catch fire?
By what light
Do we shell roads until daybreak?
and the sound is bearable
and the morning, like bullets, is bearable.
Stop, you tall handsome one
we pass from
our blood to our blood
and never arrive
and take flight to our blood
and the siege pursues us.
The wound in our suitcases
Bears our features
While it is carried by the sea.
And death is bearable
and silence is bearable
and the morning, like bullets, is bearable.

From ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  PALESTINIAN  LITERATURE.  Ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi.Trans. May Jayyusi and Jeremy Reed. New York: Columbia University Press (August 15, 1994).
About Zuhair Abu Shayib

“. . . Both his knife and the storm Are his destiny . . .” (Fouzi El-Asmar)

yatta
Israeli forces tighten closure on the town of Yatta. (Photo: Ma’an News Agency, June 15, 2016)

❶ Israeli army commander testifies soldier had no justification for shooting al-Sharif
❷ PCHR Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the oPt (09 – 15 June 2016)
❸ Opinion/Analysis:  IS  TEL  AVIV  ATTACK  REVIVAL  OF  THE  JERUSALEM  INTIFADA?

POETRY by Fouzi El-Asmar
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ISRAELI  ARMY  COMMANDER  TESTIFIES  SOLDIER  HAD  NO  JUSTIFICATION  FOR  SHOOTING  AL-SHARIF
Ma’an News Agency
June 16, 2016
An Israeli army commander [Maj. Tom Neeman] testified in court Thursday that Elor Azaria, the Israeli soldier who shot dead Abdel Fattah al-Sharif while he was lying wounded on the ground after an alleged attempted stabbing in Hebron, saying there was no “operational justification” for Azaria’s actions, according to Israeli news media [. . . .]  __”I approached him and asked, ‘Why did you do it?’,” Neeman continued, “He answered me, ‘This terrorist was alive, and he needs to die.'” Neeman added: “I was angry at him for doing this. Essentially a shooting had been conducted at the scene that I was in charge of, without my permission.”     MORE . . .  

[Note: the two articles quoted today are not specifically about extra-judicial killings by individual IDF soldiers in the moment of a perceived attack by Palestinians. They, however, provide background for the general attitude of the IDF toward the killing of “terrorists.”]  

The IDF suggested . . . that the setting of the conflict between Israel and the different Palestinian organizations be referred to as a “state of armed conflict short of war”—a state that on the one hand is more than a police action that necessitates a law enforcement paradigm, and less than a “total war” that would not have been acceptable on the international community [. . . .]
___Jean-Philippe Kot attests that Palestinian civilians were deliberately put at risk due to a flawed interpretation of civilian immunity. Kot attests that in practice, the Israeli soldiers’ right to life unjustifiably superseded the rights of its enemy population. (Jean-Philippe Kot, “Israeli Civilians versus Palestinian Combatants?” Leiden Journal of International Law.)
___Philosophy professor Asa Kasher, who . . .  specializes in moral doctrines that shape parameters of military actions, says that the principle of distinction is a most important moral principle. Yet . . . a soldier’s life should not be put in unreasonable risk in favor of enemy citizens. The value of an enemy civilian life does not outweigh the value of the soldier’s life. In Kasher’s contentious view, the State’s primary responsibility is to protect the lives of its citizens and its “responsibility for one’s own citizens takes precedence over the other responsibility to the non-dangerous neighbors.”

  • Falk, Ophir. “Permissibility Of Targeted Killing.” Studies In Conflict & Terrorism 37.4 (2014): 295-321.     SOURCE.  
al-sharif
Still from video footage was expected to be shown to the Israeli military court at the trial of Elor Azaria. (Photo from Ma’an News Agency, June 16, 2016)

❷ PCHR  REPORT  ON  ISRAELI  HUMAN  RIGHTS  VIOLATIONS  IN  THE  OPT  (09 – 15  JUNE  2016)
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
June 16, 2016
Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territories continued during the reporting period (09 – 15 June 2016).
___Shootings: Israeli forces have continued to commit crimes, inflicting civilian casualties [. . . .]
___Incursions: During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 89 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 6 ones in occupied East Jerusalem and its suburbs [. . . .]
___ Collective Punishment Policy:  On Thursday, 09 June 2016, Israeli bulldozers closed the northern main entrance to Yatta, south of Hebron, in addition to the bypass roads leading to the city and its villages. Israeli forces imposed this cordon after declaring the city as a closed military zone [. . . .]      MORE . . .   

. . . this is precisely the argument that the Rapporteur and others make . . .  Article 51(3) of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Convention, [ ] provides that ‘[c]ivilians shall enjoy the protection afforded by this section, unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities.’ [Rapporteur] reads this to mean except when actually firing on enemy soldiers, ‘… and as soon as they cease to do so, they regain protection …. They maintain their civilian status …. They cannot be hunted down and summarily executed’.
___Amnesty International similarly holds that “Armed Palestinians who directly participate in hostilities—for example by shooting at Israeli soldiers or civilians—lose their protected status for the duration of the attack …. [But t]hey are civilians …. Because they are not combatants, the fact that they participated in armed attack at an earlier point cannot justify targeting them for death later on.”
[. . . .]  Michael Schmitt offers a more plausible perspective on the same passage:
“. . . assume that the group has committed terrorism against the state and is expected to do so again in the future. In this scenario … the various terrorist acts may be regarded as part of a continuous operation. This characterization is analogous to the battle/war distinction. Once war has commenced, the initiation of each battle is not evaluated separately. . . .”
___On this more plausible reading, terrorists are assumed to be engaged in ongoing struggle and therefore remain legitimate targets.

  • Plaw, Avery. “Terminating Terror The Legality, Ethics And Effectiveness Of Targeting Terrorists.” Theoria: A Journal Of Social & Political Theory 54.114 (2007): 1-27.    SOURCE.

❸ Opinion/Analysis: IS  TEL  AVIV  ATTACK  REVIVAL  OF  THE  JERUSALEM  INTIFADA?
Al-Monitor (Palestine Pulse)
Adnan Abu Amer
June 15, 2016
The pace of the attacks against Israelis during the Jerusalem intifada, which broke out in October 2015, has been increasing at times and decreasing at others. Up until early March, 620 attacks had been carried out in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem, resulting in the death of 33 Israelis and 209 Palestinians.
___The Tel Aviv attack June 8 was the most ruthless Palestinian armed attack against Israelis, targeting a shopping mall in Tel Aviv, a short walk from the headquarters of the Israeli Ministry of Defense. Cousins Mohammad and Khaled Mahamra from the town of Yatta in Hebron governorate were able to pass through the security measures and the Israeli military checkpoints, and started shooting at people killing four Israelis and wounding six others.
___On june 9, the Israeli government promptly decided to impose a series of collective punishments on the Palestinian residents of Yatta        MORE . . .  

“FOUR WHISPERS,” BY FOUZI EL-ASMAR

I.
Since our life is barren
like desert sands
As are our minds
We sow our hopes
in plains of deadly gold
and set up our own temptations
to lure us like a mirage
at dawn

II.
When a man is reduced to a butchered lamb
And his will to a helpless, flapping sail
Lost in the ocean
Both his knife and the storm
Are his destiny.

III.
We are consumed in guarding
Against the bit of the adder,
Meanwhile neglecting
The labour of the ant on our land.

IV.
Oh, brothers
The thorn bears no fruit
Its stem throbs with a deadly poison.
It shall be uprooted.

About Fouzi El-Asmar  
From El-Asmar, Fouzi. THE  WIND-DRIVEN  REED  AND  OTHER  POEMS.  Washington, D.C.: Three Continents Press, 1979.    Available from Amazon.

“. . . A night without light where our voices are lost . . .” (Fadwa Tuqan)

zzzzzmourners pray nablus
Hundreds mourn at funeral of youth whose body was returned to Nablus by Israel. (Photo: Ma’an News Agency)

❶ The forced transfer of Palestinian detainees — why it matters
❷ 8 detained in predawn arrest raids
❸ PA: Israel’s torture of Palestinian prisoner ‘unfathomable’
❹ Military Court Watch Briefing Watch, December 2015
❺ Opinion/Analysis: Israel’s cynical new strategy: Reframe Palestine debate as a religious battle, when it is really about civil rights
❻ Poetry by Fadwa Tuqan
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
+972 MAGAZINE
THE  FORCED  TRANSFER  OF  PALESTINIAN  DETAINEES  — WHY  IT  MATTERS
Gerard Horton
Dec. 19, 2015
Palestinian children detained in the Israeli military detention system should be held in facilities located in Palestine, as opposed to Israel, in accordance with international law, UNICEF recommended in its 2013 report, Children in Israeli Military Detention (2013). . . .
The articles of the Convention are accompanied by a commentary . . . [that] makes it clear that the prohibition against transferring protected persons from occupied territory, for whatever reason, stems from the experiences of the Second World War when mass transfers in Europe were commonplace. More . . .
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
8  DETAINED  IN  PREDAWN  ARREST  RAIDS
Dec. 20, 2015
JENIN (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Sunday detained eight Palestinians in predawn arrest raids in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian sources and Israel’s army said. . . .
___Two Palestinian minors were also detained Saturday, according to the spokesperson.
___Around 6700 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli jails, and well over 2000 have been detained since the beginning of October. More . . .

zzzzpredawn raid
Israeli forces detaining Palestinians in predawn arrest raids in the occupied West Bank. (Photo: Ma’an News Agency)

MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
PA:  ISRAEL’S  TORTURE  OF  PALESTINIAN  PRISONER  ‘UNFATHOMABLE’
Dec. 7, 2015
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Authority’s department of prisoners’ affairs on Monday alleged that Israeli forces tortured a Palestinian prisoner charged with attempting to stab an Israeli soldier.
___Legal affairs director Louay Akka said Palestinian prisoner Wasim Marouf was covered with 28 cigarette burns on his hands, chest and back
___”I don’t know the nature of the directives or training [the Israeli guards] must have received to become this brutal,” Akka said. More . . .
MILITARY COURT WATCH (MONITORING THE TREATMENT OF CHILDREN IN DETENTION)
MILITARY  COURT  WATCH  BRIEFING  WATCH
This Briefing Note reviews developments in the Israeli military detention system for children and covers the period September to December 2015.
More . . .
Opinion/Analysis
AL-SHABAKA: THE PALESTINIAN POLICY NETWORK (Reprinted From Salon)
ISRAEL’S  CYNICAL  NEW  STRATEGY:  REFRAME  PALESTINE  DEBATE  AS  A  RELIGIOUS  BATTLE,  WHEN  IT  IS  REALLY  ABOUT  CIVIL  RIGHTS
Nadia Hijab and Alaa Tartir
Dec. 7, 2015
With the focus on Syria, in part due to ISIS and in part to the massive refugee crisis, the threats to world peace because of the Israeli occupation of Palestine have been put on the back burner. Indeed, the U.S. administration has seemingly washed its hands of its efforts to broker peace. . . .
___Yet there is a dire need to end the Israeli occupation, because Israel’s actions could rapidly and suddenly escalate the situation beyond the occupied territory to encompass Israel itself. . . . Israel moved to ban the northern branch of the Islamic Movement — despite the objections of its own intelligence chief Yoram Cohen, who had said there was no evidence to link it to terror. . .
___By so doing, Israel amplified Palestinian fears since the clashes began at the Noble Sanctuary compound in East Jerusalem two months ago, that it is seeking to reframe the conflict as a religious war instead of what it really is: A Palestinian struggle for civil and political rights . . . . More . . .

TWO  POEMS  FROM  “BEHIND  THE  BARS,”  BY  FADWA  TUQAN  (1970)
“A salute to our sons and daughters, the fighters that
have been swallowed up by Israeli prisons.”

2. From “Hiba’s” Diary
My mother’s phantom hovers here
her forehead shines in my eyes
like the light of stars
She might be thinking of me now,
dreaming

(Before my arrest
I drew letters on a book
new and old
I painted roses
reared with blood
and my mother was near me
blessing my painting)

I see her
on her face silence and loneliness now
and in the house
silence and loneliness
My book case there on the book shelf
and my school’s uniform on the hanger
I see her hand extending
removing the dust from it
I follow my mother’s steps
and listen to her thoughts
yearn to hug her and the face of the day

3. From the Diary of “―”
(There in Israel, our prisoners
whom we know nothing about.)

From the ravine pours silent angry darkness
and night spreads its large sails here
the light of the stars and the dawn
cannot sneak in
A night without light
where our voices are lost
and the echo dies
and time cannot move

Time has lost its shoes here
it stood still
turning around the axis of stillness and boredom
confusing days and seasons
Is it the season for planting?
Is it the season for harvest?
Is it―who can say?
No news and the jailer stands, his face a stone
his eye a stone
robbing from us the sun, robbing the moon

About Fadwa Tuqan
From: Aruri, Naseer and Edmund Ghareeb, eds. ENEMY  OF  THE  SUN:  POETRY  OF  THE  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE.  Washington, DC: Drum and Spear Press, 1970. Available from Amazon.

zzzzal aqsa
Al Aqsa. A rare view inside for non-Muslims. The mosque is a key component in the Israeli attempt to make the Palestinian situation a “religious” war. (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 4, 2015)

“. . . and every night the same portraits form. . .” (Mohammed Lafi)

Israeli Patrol watching Gaza fishermen along Gaza's border. Photo by Rosa Schiano.
Israeli Patrol watching Gaza fishermen along Gaza’s border. Photo by Rosa Schiano. (See #4 below)

❶ From +972 MAGAZINE
PERPETRATOR UNKNOWN: THE SYSTEMIC FAILURE TO INVESTIGATE SETTLER VIOLENCE
Yossi Gurvitz
May 30, 2015
At the center of a new Yesh Din report, “Mock Enforcement,” is a depressing piece of data: the Israel Police fail in 85.3 percent of investigations into Israelis who harm Palestinians in the West Bank. The report, which deals with Israel’s continued failure to enforce the law on Israeli civilians in the West Bank, examined 996 cases closed by the police, and found that the main reason cited for closing them is “UP” – unknown perpetrator. . .
____The UP clause is the official reason police give explaining their decision to close the cases. Israel Police directives allow for nine reasons for closing an investigative case, among them: lack of criminal culpability, inadequate evidence, the suspect is a minor, and, of course, unknown perpetrator.
____Every time a case is closed due to UP, the question arises: just how hard the did the police search for the guilty party . . .
(More. . . )

❷ From +972 MAGAZINE
HOW AN ALLEGED WAR CRIME GOES AWAY — AND RESURFACES A YEAR LATER
Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man
June 2, 2015
How does an apparent war crime, recorded and reported in real time disappear from the public realm and the radar of military investigators for almost a year? The fog of war? Hiding in plain sight? It’s not quite clear.
. . . in the middle of one of the deadliest battles of last summer’s Gaza war, in the Shujaiyeh neighborhood, where some 100 Palestinians and over a dozen Israeli soldiers were killed. On July 22, IDF Cpt. Dima Levitas was killed by Palestinian fire. Levitas was laid to rest the next day in Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl military cemetery. . .
___One day later, on the NRG news site, formerly the website of Ma’ariv and now owned by Israel Hayom, an audio clip was published. According to the NRG report, the clip is a recording — over the army two-way radio — of Lt.-Col. Neriya Yeshurun eulogizing Levitas, and ultimately ordering a barrage of tank fire, “in his honor,” directed at a medical clinic.
(More. . . )
(Original report)

Shujaiya neighborhood of Gaza
Shujaiya neighborhood of Gaza

❸ From INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER (IMEMC)
E1 PROJECT AIMS TO ELIMINATE PALESTINIANS FROM C AREAS
June 2, 2015
IMEMC News & Agencies
The Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) today warned from the Israeli civil administration’s project E1, which aims to conduct six structure plans annexed to each other, forming a new settlement, after they relocate the Bedouin Palestinians from their homes near Jerusalem and Nuway’imah . . . to expand illegal Israeli settlements.
____According to the PNN, the report showed that about half a million dunams of lands will be evacuated. . . These areas will be converted into settlements, military training zones, in addition to nature reserves, making it impossible for the Bedouins to return to their homes, in addition to the catastrophe of ripping the occupied West Bank into two halves.
____The director of UAWC’s Development and Operations department, Fuad Abu Seif, said that the project was a flagrant violation of all the international treaties, including the fourth Geneva Convention, in which article 49 quotes:

Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.

(More. . .)

❹ From PALESTINE NEWS NETWORK
OCCUPATION TARGETS FARMERS AND FISHERMEN, INJURES 1, IN INCURSION EAST OF RAFAH
PNN/Gaza/
June 3, 2015
A farmer was wounded Wednesday morning as Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) opened fire on the border of Khuza’a town east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.
____IOF targeted farmers and opened fire in their direction, prompting dozens of farmers to leave their lands due to the continuation of the indiscriminate shooting.
____Meanwhile, Israeli military boats targeted fishermen in a number of areas off the coast of the Strip. No injuries were reported.
____This comes after 3 fishermen were injured on Monday morning by Israeli occupation naval soldiers.
____Israeli naval boats regularly open fire on Palestinian fishermen sailing within the six-nautical-miles zone and farmlands along the border, clearly violating the ceasefire deal, reported IMEMC.
(More. . .)

❺ From WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS (WRMEA)
Special Report
KILLING IN GAZA, SAVING IN NEPAL:  ISRAEL’S MORAL HYPOCRISY
By Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy is a columnist for the Israeli daily Haaretz.
June-July, 2015
THE UNIFORM IS THE same uniform. It’s the uniform whose wearers blew up hundreds of homes and schools and clinics in Gaza last summer. It’s the uniform whose wearers periodically shoot teenagers and children throwing stones and peaceful demonstrators in the West Bank. It’s the uniform that every night invades homes and brutally pulls people out of bed, often for needless and politically motivated arrests. It’s the uniform that blocks people’s freedom of movement in their own land. It’s the uniform that’s been abusing an entire people for decades.
____Now its wearers are saving lives for the cameras. The evil army in Palestine has become the salvation army in Nepal. . .
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“portraits and paintings,” by Mohammed Lafi
(for Ahmad Abū Salim)

every night
and for some time now
they spread across the walls of my room
across sea-fronts .  lighthouses .  oceans and ships
across known and unknown faces
public spaces
and our forgotten homeland’s fallen balconies
for some time now
and every night the same portraits form, but
-always .  in the far right-hand corner of each
resides. . . a coffin and a shroud!

every night her foot-steps
echo through the house anew
and say: believe me . the dwellers in the tombs
do not eliminate
the boundaries
between the cycle of life and death

Translated by Jim Ferguson
Mohammed Lafi is a Lecturer in English and Translation at Al-Aqsa University, Gaza, and works as a freelance translator for local and international organizations in his free time.His master’s degree was in Theory and Practice of Translation at SOAS and UCL,London, in 2004-2005. He has a BA in English and a postgraduate diploma in Education, both from the Islamic University, Gaza, Palestine. His main areas of interest are linguistics and translation studies, in particular how translation can be used to represent and misrepresent Arabic literature.
From A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Amazon.com.

Israeli settlers, from the Maaon settlement, take pictures of an elderly Palestinian shepard after he was pushed on the ground near the village of Umm el-Kheir in the southern hills of the West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron) on January 25, 2014.
Israeli settlers, from the Maaon settlement, take pictures of an elderly Palestinian shepard after he was pushed on the ground near the village of Umm el-Kheir in the southern hills of the West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron) on January 25, 2014.